There are many barriers to equality in education in Ghana ranging from poverty to negative cultural perceptions surrounding girls’ education, to a lack of nearby schools. But despite these barriers, girls’ education in Ghana has seen improvement and continues to be an issue of importance in this developing nation. Here are five facts about girls’ education in Ghana that highlight victories and steps taken to fight this problem.
Five Facts About Girls’ Education in Ghana
- The positive changes in girls’ education in Ghana stem from governmental and nonprofit agencies working together. For example, in 1997, the government of Ghana created the Girls’ Education Unit in the Ministry of Education, which means every region and district has a Girls’ Education Officer. The Ministry of Education also partnered with UNICEF to develop and implement education strategies for girls.Furthermore, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) worked in Ghana from 2012-2016 in a joint effort with the Ministry of Education and UNICEF. This partnership saw real results, including that 889 district gender officers received training in guidance and counseling, 94,827 in-service teachers were trained and 28,056 teachers received math education and training.
- Since the early 2000s, girls have consistently enrolled in primary and secondary school at higher rates and closed the gender gap in school enrollment. In 2018, Ghana’s national primary gender parity index (GPI) is at 1.01 compared to 0.94 in 2004. This demonstrates an equality between girls and boys enrolled in school.This change was sparked when the Ministry of Education eliminated school fees for basic education (elementary and junior high school) nationwide in 2005 and established a capitation grant for all basic schools. The grant also effectively reduced the barrier that poverty presented to education.
- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has greatly impacted girls’ education in Ghana. For example, USAID has provided scholarships for 7,000 girls in Ghana and 300 of the recipients have special needs and has aided in school construction and rehabilitation in 48 districts across the country.This was made possible through community programs that train volunteers to teach in high-need schools and partnerships with the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service. Currently, USAID’s education objective in Ghana is to improve reading performance for 2.8 million Ghanaian primary school children by 2020.
- The Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2018-2030 is currently being finalized by the government of Ghana and is focused on an inclusive education system that is accessible and equal for all. Its main goal is to use education to improve the national development agenda and make sure it has a positive impact on development.This is the sixth plan in the series and gets its foundation from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan 2016-2057. Other important priorities of the newest ESP include access, quality, relevance, effectiveness and sustainability.
- In September 2017, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo made secondary education free for children in Ghana. This measure was much needed as only 37 percent of students were taking part in secondary school in 2014. The president’s promise removed admission fees, library fees, computer lab fees, examination fees and utility fees and included free textbooks, meals and boarding.
While it is still challenging for poor and rural families to attend school, these efforts to improve access to girls’ education in Ghana have been steps in the right direction.
– Alexandra Eppenauer